Poet Adrienne Rich, a Taurus.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty
On Friday afternoon, Pluto, planet of darkness, upheaval, and rebirth, begins its annual retrograde period. Pluto is slow-moving and distant, so its retrogrades are typically less intense for us than, say, Mercury retrograde, which starts in May. Think of this as a time to reflect. Could you wield your own power differently? Are there painful cycles you’re ready to break free from? Then, on Friday evening, communication planet Mercury enters its home sign of Gemini, activating your curiosity and sense of fun, but also your susceptibility to distraction. Finally, Saturday afternoon brings a solar eclipse (the first of the year) in Taurus. Eclipses tend to bring changes that are unexpected – perhaps even unwanted – but necessary. If you’re offered a surprising opportunity, a chance to alter the course of your life, recognize that it might be just what you need.
You’re usually acutely aware that conditions won’t improve for you unless you make it so, that there’ll be no excitement or progress or fun unless you create it yourself. Waiting around to see what happens never feels like a smart or useful strategy. This week, however, it might just work. The earth will continue to spin if you take the day off. Fresh spring air will blow through whether or not you invite it. Beautiful, breathtaking changes are making their way toward you. The best approach is to watch and wait, to see what comes next.
In order to grow, you’re generally required to move into unfamiliar territory, to attempt what you’ve never done before or stretch in ways you feared impossible. But after a long or difficult journey, there’s much to be learned from coming home again, too. This week, you can return to a state that feels natural, to the people who matter most to you, to the principles that ground you. You can re-enter your comfort zone, braver than you were when you left it. You can reconnect with your truest self – and this won’t be a step backward, but in fact growth.
You know, better than most, how contradictory people can be: Our personalities are made up of conflicting traits, we often have incompatible desires and want multiple lives at once. For you, it can seem like the work of a lifetime to create order out of all the commotion inside your head, to reduce and simplify your imaginings, and reduce them again, until you find a common denominator, a single identity that makes sense. But this week, it isn’t your job to pigeonhole yourself: Other people do that enough already. It’s better right now to honor your multitudes, to trust that your complexities might be the best things about you.
You rarely make decisions based only on your needs, because a significant part of your mind is always dedicated to considering the people around you. What are they hoping for, what do they need from you? Can you maximize everyone’s happiness, not just your own? It’s a good and worthy way to move through the world. The only trouble is that it can then be challenging to tell the difference between generosity and an instinct not to make waves or let anyone down. This week, give yourself permission to disappoint others, whether that’s because their expectations of you are unreasonable, or because you’re compelled to stand up for yourself.
Some disappointments, whether professional or personal, are easy enough to bounce back from. You know that everyone hits patches of bad luck, that even the most beautiful people and undeniable geniuses have faced rejection. But after too many knocks to your confidence, it’s normal to lose perspective, to start taking it personally, wondering if maybe you have less to offer than you thought. This week, you’ll be reminded that your mind is exciting, that your life is special. When the world invites you to join in adventure, believe in yourself enough to accept.
Surviving in this world sometimes seems to require that you set your big dreams aside and focus on more feasible, if uninspiring, goals. Ignoring your longing for love, or for recognition, or for an equitable and beautiful future, can be less painful than trying and failing, again and again, to get what you truly want. Endeavoring to change your life is an exhausting and uncertain undertaking; accepting reality – even an unsatisfactory reality – can be, well, easier. This week, though, the desires you thought you had successfully hidden away might come roaring back to the surface. You don’t have to settle for second best: You have the strength, now, to keep seeking what you want more than anything.
Sometimes you wonder if it’s actually a curse, to be as strong as you are. Others observe how well you hold up under strain, how much suffering and stress you’re able to absorb, and they imagine this to come naturally to you. Of course, you know better. You know that no matter how tenacious you are, you can’t go on taking hits forever. More than that, you know you shouldn’t have to. You deserve softness, care, and protection, the same as everyone else, and as you move through the world this week, think about what, and who, might offer them to you.
These days, you’re watchful all the time, constantly on guard against senseless meanness, against criticisms made in bad faith and mistreatment of all kinds. Be assured, it isn’t just paranoia: You’ve seen people around you grow more prickly, less understanding; you’re wise to carefully consider how your words and actions will be received. But when you spend too much time in a defensive posture, it shrinks your imagination, your adventurousness, your spirit. This isn’t to say you must recklessly invite conflict into your life, only that this week you may well be rewarded for courage, for daring to go your own way.
It can be difficult for you to accept that you need and deserve rest in the same way that everybody else does. Maybe you keep telling yourself that constant forward motion is what makes you feel most alive, or perhaps you just don’t think you deserve the same comforts as the people you love. Either way: You’re human, and you need to slow down now and then. Even if you don’t want to, the universe will eventually demand it of you (imagine passing out in the supermarket or falling asleep at work). So this week, focus on refilling your cup, on sleeping or lounging or just staying home. Recharging makes it possible to keep moving later.
There’s a part of you that imagines you need to vigilantly monitor your emotions. You want to cultivate a precise level of righteous anger, to maintain an attitude that’s neither too cynical nor too rosy, to make sure only give your love to those who judge deserving of it. But the world keeps getting more confusing, and it keeps unsettling your ideas about what you “should” feel. This week, your anger might flare up, or it might melt away entirely, or you might find yourself loving someone who strikes you as “all wrong.” All these feelings are legitimate, because they’re yours.
When you’re already pessimistic about your personal prospects and despairing about our collective future, the last thing you want is more surprises. Even when you’re expecting it, change can be destabilizing; it’s worse when you’ve had no chance to prepare. But you may rehearse every bad scenario in your head, and it’ll still be possible to be surprised by good ones. Occasionally, you forget to think about the way things might go right. Though your imagination isn’t big enough to envision sweet or hopeful new potentialities, sometimes the universe creates them for you anyway.
If you pay close attention to history, to patterns, to the echoes and repetitions in your life or the world at large, you begin to believe you can see not just the past, but the future, too. You imagine that the way things have happened before is a blueprint for how they’ll happen again. But while the past repeats itself, that doesn’t mean the future is set in stone, and this week, you might be surprised. It’s entirely possible for current relationships to turn out differently from past ones, for today’s project to succeed where yesterday’s failed. Don’t assume you can predict what’s going to happen: Right here at the moment, you can only try.
Read the weekly horoscopes for the week of April 18. The weekly horoscopes for the week of May 2 will be online next Sunday.
Get Claire Comstock-Gay’s book, Madame Clairevoyant’s Guide to the Starsout now.